In the UK, a new chocolate bar contains a blockchain-based token, either to be directly gifted to the cocoa farmer or redeemed for a discount on the next purchase, Fast Company reports.
Sure, it’s chocolate, but The Other Bar pitches itself as a social experiment, too. In partnership with the United Nations Development Programme, Amsterdam’s FairChain Foundation has promised to back each token with funds that would’ve otherwise gone towards marketing.
The idea is to turn products into “engines of change” by giving consumers a chance to participate in the system themselves, rather than blindly trust NGOs to do the right thing in places where it’s needed the most.
This will hopefully inspire other companies to redirect their marketing budgets towards social impact and prove its effectiveness as a business model – all while giving a fair deal to Ecuadorian cocoa farmers.
“If we can show that this proof of impact drives customer loyalty, and marketing spend given to consumers turns into impact, then we can reach out to all these large companies that now spend millions on Kim Kardashian and say, ‘Don’t spend your marketing on these famous faces, spend your marketing dollars on your own crowd, your own customers, and let them invest in impact,” FairChain founder Guido van Staveren told Fast Company.
It’s also about going one step further than “Fairtrade” products. The Other Bar‘s website promises the initiative leaves 50 percent of the value generated by chocolate sales in Ecuador, where its cocoa is sourced, instead of just seven percent “like most bars.” It also claims Ecuadorian cocoa farmers are paid twice the industry average for their product.
This isn’t the first blockchain pilot for the FairChain Foundation. In 2018, the firm teamed up with coffee wholesalers Moyee Coffee to run a similar initiative that promised to make business fairer for Ethiopian coffee farmers.
As for its chocolate pilot, 20,000 blockchain-powered bars are set to go on sale on October 14. You can read more about The Other Bar here.
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Published October 7, 2019 — 11:55 UTC